I will and I’m going to

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Future actions

Compare will and (be) going to:

will (We’ll invite …)

We use will (We’ll invite …) to announce a new decision. The party is a new idea.

(be) going to (We’re going to invite …)

We use (be) going to when we have already decided to do something. Helen had already decided to invite lots of people before she spoke to Max.

Compare:

  • ‘Gary has been trying to contact you.’ ‘Has he? OK, I’ll call him.’ ‘Gary has been trying to contact you.’ ‘Yes, I know. I’m going to call him.’
  • ‘Anna is in hospital.’ ‘Really? I didn’t know. I’ll go and visit her.’ ‘Anna is in hospital.’ ‘Yes, I know. I’m going to visit her this evening.’

Future happenings and situations (predicting the future)

We use both will and going to for future happenings and situations. So you can say:

  • I think the weather will be nice later. or I think the weather is going to be nice later.
  • Those shoes are well-made. They’ll last a long time. or Those shoes are well-made. They’re going to last a long time.

When we say something is going to happen, we believe this because of the situation now. What is happening now shows that something is going to happen in the future. For example:

  • Look at those black clouds. It’s going to rain. (not it will rain) (we can see that it is going to rain – the black clouds are in the sky now)

Compare:

  • We’re going to be late. The meeting starts in five minutes and it takes 15 minutes to get there. (it is clear now that we don’t have enough time to get there)
  • Jane will be late for the meeting. She’s always late. (I believe this because I know what Jane is like)

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